This is a walk not to be missed, providing magnificent views over Chatsworth Park, and if you have the time the opportunity to visit Chatsworth House. 'The Palace of the Peak' was named Britain's Best Stately Home in Period Living and Traditional Homes magazine's Best of British Awards 2004-2005.
Queen Mary’s Bower, situated close by the bridge leading to the house, was a favourite place of relaxation for Mary, Queen of Scots when she was held captive at Chatsworth. Her coat of arms can be seen over the gateway.
After passing the house and following the gently ascending estate road, The Hunting Tower is reached. Elizabethan in construction, it has the most wonderful views over Chatsworth Estate and was once used by the ladies of the house to view the hunt when it took place in the park below. The cannon at the base of the house came from a ship that fought at the battle of Trafalgar.
The walk through Stand Wood takes you past both the Emperor and Swiss Lake, before emerging to descend a bracken clad moor, to Beeley Hilltop. This is one of the oldest houses in this part of Derbyshire thought to date back to 1250.
Length: 4.5 miles.
Start/Finish: Calton Lees Car Park.
Location: On the B6012 between Rowsley and Baslow, the car park is situated close to Chatsworth Garden Centre, on the eastern side of Chatsworth House.
Terrain: Easy walking along clear paths and estate roads, with a steady climb up to Hunting Tower from Chatsworth House. The descent to Beeley Hilltop House can be marshy in places possibly requiring some avoiding action.
1. Walk back to the entrance of the car park, cross the road close to the cattle grid to the Chatsworth Park footpath sign.
2. Follow the path to the left, for about a mile to the bridge over the River Derwent, which you cross and follow the footpath towards Chatsworth House.
3. Continue up the hill past the Restaurant, heading for the Farmyard and Adventure Playground.
4. A few yards after going through a gate by a cattle grid, turn right along a surfaced estate road, signed for Stand Woods.
5. Shortly after passing a waterfall feature, turn left where the road divides, and go round a hairpin bend. Soon the waterfall feature is passed again, closer up this time.
6. On reaching the Hunting Tower, climb the steps and pass the tower on the right. Walk down a short track and turn right along an estate road.
7. Continue along this road, keeping to the left where the road divides. After passing Emperor Lake, the road bends to the right.
8. After passing Swiss Lake on the right, the road bends first to the left and then sharply to the right. Stay on the main track through the wood.
9. On reaching a cross roads continue straight on, marked for Hob Hurst’s House and Beeley. After only a few yards the road turns left and leads you to a high stone step stile.
10. Cross the stile and after walking up the track for 75 yards, follow the waymarked sign down the bracken clad hillside, to a stile into a field.
11. Angle slightly to the right across the field towards some farm buildings, go over a stile on the left of a farm gateway and turn right down a lane.
12. At the bottom of the lane, turn right along the busy B6012 – take care - there is no pavement for a short distance.
13. A few yards after crossing the bridge over the river, turn left and take the footpath signed for Rowsley.
14. Climb the short distance up the wooded hillside to the car park where you started your walk.
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PLACES OF SPECIAL INTEREST IN THE LOCALITY
Chatsworth House and Gardens (Tel. 01246 582204) stands in a deer park designed by Capability Brown in the 18th century with hills and woods. Open March to December. Shop and restaurant facilities are available. Visitors are free to wander in the magnificent parklands - open all year.
Chatsworth Estate Farm Shop (Tel. 01246 582204) situated at Pilsley, one and a half miles from Chatsworth House, at what used to be the Stud Farm and later became a milking parlour. Then in 1977, the Duchess of Devonshire opened The Farm Shop in the former Tack Room, which sells beef and lamb from the estate. As the shop has become more successful, it has expanded to include a whole range of products. Refreshment facilities are provided. Open daily.
Edensor, a delightful estate village where the houses have been built in a variety of architectural styles that add to the appeal of what must be one of the most beautiful villages in England. Members of the Cavendish Family lie buried in the churchyard, as does Kathleen Kennedy, sister of the former President of the USA. There is an excellent teashop at the Post Office/Shop.
Devonshire Arms, Pilsley (Tel. 01246 583258) built in about 1700, incorporating an oak beamed ceiling, thick stone walls and open fires it personifies the image of the traditional country pub. Open lunchtime and evenings. Home cooked food is served at lunchtime. From Thursday to Saturday, carvery meals are served in the evening. Accommodation is available.
Chatsworth Tea Rooms (Tel. 01246 582204) situated in the former stables to Chatsworth House that have been converted into a very impressive restaurant, tea rooms and shop complex. There is a wide range of food and drink available and walkers are very welcome. Open daily from 10.15am when the house is open to the public.
THE DISCOVER DERBYSHIRE AND THE PEAK DISTRICT GUIDE
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Chatsworth, 'The Palace of the Peak,' was named Britain's Best Stately Home in Period Living and Traditional Homes magazine's Best of British Awards 2004-2005. Over 200,000 votes were cast when readers of the market leading magazine were asked to nominate the aspects of traditional British life that they love best.
The first house at Chatsworth was built by 'Bess of Hardwick' and her second husband Sir William Cavendish. Building began in 1552 and the work was completed by his widow after Sir William died in 1557.
Today, Chatsworth is one of the Treasure Houses of England with fine furniture, sculpture, tapestry, paintings and other works of art. Set in beautiful surroundings, in the heart of the Peak District National Park, it attracts admiring visitors from all over the world.
All details on this page were correct at the time of publication, but changes may be made without notification